Silver Linings Part 2

For Part 1, click—-> Silver Linings Part 1

The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne is a Silver Lining for anyone who has to walk through its doors.  First of all, it’s Royal-that seems to be a big thing these days, doesn’t it?  Even the Queen has been for an inspection.

Secondly, the hospital has its own meerkat enclosure, (!)


and the Emergency Room is the jewel in its crown with a two story, salt water aquarium smack dab in the middle.  We walk through the sliding glass doors and my son is calm and serene.  This leads me to hope his arm is only sprained, but Mama knows better.

“Mama!”  he says, “Look!  There’s a man in there with the fish”

Lo and behold-among the nurse sharks and parrot fish swims a scuba diver.  May this be his only memory of this whole event.

We watch him swim and tend to the fish for what could easily be fifteen minutes before we remember what we’re here for.  We go through admission, we go through triage, we go through accounts payable.  We head back to the fish.  We’re both surprised-and a little disappointed-when they immediately call his name.  We actually want to wait and hang with the fishies for a minute.  The X-Ray takes moments.  They whisk us into our own private waiting room with a reclining bed-chair.  A television brims with the child-friendly content of our choice.  He cozies into my arms.

Silver Lining #?  I lost count, have you?

Now, I’ve never been described as stoic and in this moment of stillness, I feel the full tumult of left over adrenaline. I try to sit with it when our gorgeous doctor-the embodiment of a Silver Lining for all the children she tends to-swings around the corner and looks at my son with glowing admiration.

“You are a very brave boy,” she says as she sweeps his X-ray out of a manilla envelope.  He offers a polite smile, but clearly, he’s watching TV and dislikes the interruption, “Your arm is broken in two places!”

She hands me the X-ray.  Both bones near his wrist are broken: clearly, plainly, obviously.  She begins to explain what they’ll do from here, but stops short.  With great concern she says, “Are you alright?”

“Yes, yes,” I lie, “Of course, I’m just fine.”

“You look a bit green.  Can I bring you some water or a cup of tea?” she asks.

“No, no.  I’m fine,” I repeat as the room closes in on me.  Oh. My. God. Please. Do. Not.  Faint.


As if on cue, the Silver Lining of my life materializes from around the corner.

“Well hello,” my husband says J. Peterman style.

He glances at the X-Ray, “Looks like you’ve broken your radius and your ulna little fellow.”

While many doctors harbor a secret yearning to be in Musical Theatre, my husband harbors a secret desire to be a doctor.

He glances at what I suppose is my ashen face, “I’ll take it from here Doctor.”

He scoops our son off my lap.  I imagine as they walk down the hall he says, ‘This reminds me of a time deep in the heart of Africa-far from the safety of the Norfolk Hotel-  when my horse, Little Juniper-ahhh, may she rest in peace.  She was a sporting old girl, as beautiful as the chestnut waistcoat named after her, which comes in men’s sizes 30-38.   As I was saying, Little Joonie and I were locked eye to eye with a monstrous wildebeest…”

But the words I actually pick up as they travel away from me are ‘manipulate’ and ‘sandwich cast’ and ‘laughing gas.’  While I’m sad to be relieved of my duties, it’s probably best I don’t bear witness to the chain of events that will somehow connect these words together.

Besides, it’s only now I realize I’m still covered head to toe in mulch.

They return a bit later.  I’ve de-mulched, cried and had that cup of tea.  They look like they just returned from a boy’s day out.  They giggle as they show me his new cast.  I think he likes it.

The next day, after a rough night of dreams where I was chased by lions (seriously, my fight or flight response just does not know when to quit), several more Silver Linings popped up.

  1. His little pals signed his cast at the museum.


2. Housekeeping left this note.  (Did I mention we were staying in a hotel for all this?)


3.  And my husband regaled me with the following story-names have been changed to protect the innocent.

The doctor told me it really hurts to manipulate his bones, but they have to do it in order to set them for the cast.  That’s why they used laughing gas.  She told me before she gave it to him, it sometimes acts as a truth serum on kids.

He bursts out laughing.

I asked him about school and he told me he really likes Lizzy, but Lizzy likes Theo.

I burst out laughing.

Then he said Sara really likes him, but she’s mad at him right now and yelled at him for climbing too high on the climbing wall.

We both can’t stop laughing.



writer---currently in London


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